Johnston Group may be a niche player in the group insurance and benefits industry in Canada, but the Winnipeg-based and family-owned company is leading the way, digitally. COVID-19 took its efforts to the next level.
“We were forced to make decisions quickly internally such as going remote, making big investments in technology but also in terms of the marketplace because we did have a responsibility to help our customers get through it too,” says Dave Angus, President of Johnston Group.
That meant letting clients pull back from group benefits or stop them for a period of time with the ability to easily add benefits back.
Johnston Group, which has been in business for 35 years, launched a digital telemedicine platform with its partner, Teladoc, in September 2019. Once the pandemic hit, the company’s foresight paid off.
The virtual platform granted more than 300,000 employees and their dependents in 30,000 companies across Canada the ability to reach doctors virtually.
Teladoc was soon offered to the 350 Indigenous organizations using employee benefits administered by Johnston Group. It was an obvious next step, considering the difficulties many Indigenous communities face in accessing medical care in remote areas.
Looking ahead, Angus says he’s optimistic Johnston Group and other Winnipeg businesses will be able to recover and emerge even stronger.
“Winnipeg had advantages before, but I think those advantages will be more important coming out of COVID-19; the affordability of our community, our quality of life and the productivity of our workforce.”
*This story was originally published in The Winnipeg Investor magazine released in November 2020 during YES! Winnipeg’s Investor Breakfast.